Pulp My Daisy: Jazz, Noir & Beatniks - Elevator to the Gallows

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If there is an Ur-moment for the meeting of movies and jazz, Elevator to the Gallows is it. Director Louis Malle’s rookie feature is a super stylish crime thriller, scored by Miles Davis, about illicit lovers Florence and Julien whose plans to be together are interrupted by a fatal error and a couple of ill-placed blousons noirs—idiotic teens in black leather. The latter spend the night in the swankiest motel you’ll ever see, while Julien is locked in an elevator and Florence, played by the luminous Jeanne Moreau, wanders the streets of Paris in a daze. Moreau is more beautiful the more melancholy she becomes—and no wonder: Henri Decai, high priest of the French New Wave, was cinematographer, and Miles’s improvised score made use of the modal experiments that would be central to Kind of Blue and altar the course of music history. Do not miss Elevator.

Dir. Louis Malle, 1958, 35mm, 91 min.

Watch the Cinefamily original trailer!

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